I just received my RPi 3 Model B in the mail today, but I do not know how to SSH into the terminal of the RPi.

I do have a microSD card, but do not have access to a microSD -> SD card converter, thus I am unable to add an OS to the RPi. I do not have a WiFi module / dongle either for the RPi.

Is it still possible to FTP the files over to the RPI using an Ethernet cord or LAN?

  • @techraf hopefully this is better :)
    – Tim
    Commented Dec 7, 2016 at 4:36

5 Answers 5


No, you cannot set up Raspberry Pi without first writing an image of the operating system to the microSD card from which the device boots.

Even if you had a memory card with a pre-installed system, it would be impossible to replace it with another one "over-the-wire".

Raspberry Pi 3 has a built-in Wi-Fi adapter, so you don't need any dongle, however without an operating system the device is unusable.


If you have a Droid phone, you can put your SD card in it. Delete all the files and install the unzipped OS files on it via your USB data/charging cable. Unmount it, shut the phone off, pull the SD card and put it in your Pi. It should boot. Caveat: Do not put the files in a single folder, the Pi won't be able to find them. Copy the batch as they appeared when extracted. I made the single file mistake myself! Easy fix, but it was annoying!


You can consider ordering a microSD card with preinstalled system. They're should be easy to find over ebay for example. RPI3 has built in WiFi module Same as RJ45 Lan socket so you can use any of this. After all you can download SAMBA or FTP application or connect RPI3 via SSH with tools like Putty or Winscp (Windows) to transfer files


You are in a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation if you cannot access the card from another device. Also, as I think SSH is not now made active by default on the standard Raspbian distribution {I think it needs a "sentinel" file to exist - as per this Q&A to temporarily enable it to login remotely} you have the problem of getting the requisite file on the card in the first place!

Actually the microSD cards available in retail outlets (e.g. your local supermarket) often come with a SD-to-MicroSD card adapter - I can see two lying discarded and now pretty much unused next to my Desktop PC as I type - and I have a third in use on my RPi 1B right now. So consider getting yourself a spare card+adapter, you can probably find some device that you can increase the external storage on with the card, e.g. a mobile-phone, camera, tablet - or just use it to experiment with different OS choices for the RPi without messing with your current (well, soon to be current 8-) ) setup...


Almost any micro-sd from ebay comes with an sd to micro-sd adapter. You'll want one of those. Also look up "NOOBS" which can be copied straight onto a 16GB card as that makes life easier for you.

To my knowledge, it never has been possible to FTP to a blank raspberry pi because what would be operating the ethernet receiver while that was going on?

  • 1
    Technically you can copy any distro straight to the card (how else is it supposed to get there?).
    – goldilocks
    Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 16:39

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